Boro not quite able to make 4 on the trot.
It was another Yorkshire Cup Final today against perennial rivals York. York are always a quality side and this year they looked even stronger than in previous years so we knew that nothing but a top draw performance would do. The venue at West Park Leeds is very much top draw and even the weather was on it’s best behaviour, so everything was set for a cracking day. Both sides were very well supported and the general throng of people on a finals day made for a great atmosphere.
The early exchanges are a bit scrappy with both sides trying to settle. York have the early territorial advantage and get the first scoring opportunity when we are penalised in front. The kick drifts wide and we are able to clear our lines. Boro finally get some good possession and start to made ground, some good handling and quick tap penalties see us onto the offensive and deep into the York 22. A sniping Sam G break sees him held short but driven over the line by the pack but he is adjudged held up. From the resulting 5 meter scrum Mav picks and goes and does well to force his way over through two tacklers. With Sam G knocking over the conversion we find ourselves 7-0 in front. From the restart we gather and run again but turn the ball over in contact, York make the most of it and quick turnover ball is taken down the blindside where the York wing takes advantage of some poor Boro defence to score. Back to 7-7 and we are very disappointed to concede straight after scoring. We then have a period of good pressure with some good play seeing us deep into York territory. Ben L is tackled just short of the line and further fumbles and good York defence keep us out. York clear their lines and gain field position and with a penalty kicked deep into our 22 the pressure is back on us. York take clean lineout ball and we are unable to prevent them from driving the maul over to score out wide. 7-12 with the kick missed. We have one last promising attack but again the ball goes to ground and the half finishes 7-12.
We have had enough ball to have been ahead but were unable to make our opportunities count. Thwarted by good York defence and some below par handling on our part, but it looks all set for a great second half.
York start the better and from a good midfield break create the space to score a lovely try with some excellent support play. 7-17. We come straight back and have a period of good pressure, multiple York infringements see Sam G keep the momentum with a number of quick tap and goes but we are not able to manufacture a clear cut opportunity. York kick well on a number of occasions to clear their lines but finally our pressure tells when after a number of phases Mav is able to force his way over from close range. Sam G slots the kick and its 14-17. York though come straight back once again, good handling sees them round off a nice move out wide but when the kick hits the post it is out to 14-22. Again Boro go on the offensive and multiple phases see us back into the York 22 , and finally the York defence is too stretched and Dan O goes over. Again Sam G slots the extras and its 21-22. Alas for the third time in the game we concede virtually straight after scoring, a simple move along the York backs and then a couple of missed tackles sees York ahead by 21-27. Crucially though the kick is missed and it’s still a one score game. With time running out we are now starting to chase the game and just can’t seem to string together a number of phases without an error. We are running from deep but determined York defence is preventing us from making any progress. We turnover possession just outside our 22 and from the resulting quick ball, a lovely dummy from the York 10 sees him exploit a gap and space to score a super try. This proved to be the clinching score and it finished 21-32 to York.
On balance we can have no complaints over the result. We probably just won the forward battle overall, and certainly had enough ball to have won, but the difference was the execution of the York backs. They created more, made less mistakes and took their chances very well – aided a little bit by some poor defence on occasions and at this level good players will make you pay and the York backs did just that.
For us the positives should be a good solid performance from the pack, we probably had the edge but without being able to establish our usual dominance, with Mav, Adam and Josh B probably leading the performances. The York backs got the better of us today, you can’t argue with a 6 v 3 try count and 5 coming through back play, but we shouldn’t be too disappointed – we haven’t had the same back line up in two games all season and this showed to some extent as a lack of continuity/precision in our play, so in the circumstances I don’t think we did too badly against a good side. Sam G was probably the pick of the backs, constantly injecting pace and passion into everything we did and slotting over every conversion, kicks that kept us in contention despite being behind on the try count.
This was a very entertaining match and on the day the better side won. We obviously missed 3 key players, but we were always playing catch up in this game and in truth they looked more dangerous going forward than us. So it’s thanks to York for an excellent game and congratulations on your win. We will just have to look forward to next season’s battles.
A big thank you as well to all at West Park for another excellent day and many thanks to the officials who kept the game flowing pretty well.
A great time was had by all at the post match debrief. What did we learn;
• Fez is quicker on the pitch than he is in a boat race.
• Salad when available as an optional side dish is not that popular amongst the lads.
• Adams brother is clearly working incredibly hard at University and has spent no time at all in the bar.
• A post match coke race between Josh B and Danny P would have to start at least 30 minutes before everyone wanted to leave.
• The Silver Fox and some others volunteered to be on the ladies team a little bit too easily for my liking.
• Pink is probably not JB’s colour.
Final thank yous to Sue G for organising the post match do and to all the travelling support for another great turnout.
So in the end we couldn’t quite make it four in a row, nearly but not quite. I know everyone was disappointed but we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. This season, has been heavily disrupted with some long term serious injuries, problems with County, Academy and even International availability (in this area to a large extent we have been victims of our own success – for example 5 of the lads opted to play in the final turning down a chance to play for the Falcons against Scotland U16s at Murrayfield), so all in all we should be very proud of making it to our fourth final in a row and then competing right to the last. It has after all been a brilliant cup run over the last 6/7 years and I am fairly confident that this bunch of players will be picking up further silverware in the years to come.